You will be redirected in 30 seconds or close now.

ColdFusion Authors: Yakov Fain, Jeremy Geelan, Maureen O'Gara, Nancy Y. Nee, Tad Anderson

Related Topics: ColdFusion

ColdFusion: Article

Faster Debugging with CFTIMER and CFTRACE

Hidden gems

Two of the most common debugging tasks are displaying variables and identifying bottlenecks. For years I relied on CFDUMP and CFABORT to display variables and getTickCount() to calculate processing time and identify slow-running code.

Indeed these wonderful tags and functions have long been the quintessential toolkit of any ColdFusion developer.

<CFSET Email = "[email protected]">
<CFDUMP var="#Email#" label="Email Address">

In the approach above I used <CFDUMP> and <CFABORT> tags to display the value of a variable. Want to display a few variables? The screen quickly becomes a rainbow of purple, green, and gray as you look for your variables. While the wonders of CFDUMP probably deserve their own article, Adobe recently introduced a powerful new tag called CFTRACE.

Introducing CFTrace
With CFTRACE, you can easily display changing variable values either inline or in the debugging section, categorize variables, and even abort execution, all in one tag.
So the good ole CFDUMP becomes:

<CFSET Email = "[email protected]">
<CFTRACE var="Email" text="Email" inline="yes" abort="yes">

*Note that with CFTRACE the var attribute accepts a variable name without pound signs.

The Advantages of CFTrace
"So what" you say, "I've been using CFDUMP and CFABORT for years, why would I switch?"

Well, there are many reasons. Have you ever had to display a variable more than once? The task of identifying those values on the screen can become very cumbersome, especially if manipulated and changed multiple times.

Showing variable values at different points in a template is easy with CFTRACE. Simply add CFTRACE tags after every change and you'll see an organized list in the debugging info section at the bottom of the screen.

<CFSET Email = "[email protected]">
<CFTRACE var="Email" text="Original Email">
<CFSET Email = "[email protected]">
<CFTRACE var="Email" text="New Email">

Another clear advantage of CFTRACE is that it can easily be turned on and off via the ColdFusion administrator. I find it extremely useful not to constantly remove and add code during the development process just to display variables.

Simply browse the ColdFusion Administrator and go to Debugging & Logging -> Debugging Settings to turn CFTRACE on and off.

Not convinced yet? Consider the fact that CFTRACE also lets you categorize and type information as well as display the time differences between traces. CFTRACE calls are also displayed in Dreamweaver's server debug tab results window and ColdFusion logs <cftrace> calls to the {CFUSIONMX}\logs\cftrace.log.

All of the above should be enough to convince any developer to give CFTRACE a test drive. It's a hidden gem that has long been overlooked.

Measuring Processing Time with CFTIMER
Occasionally, I'll have to debug a very slow running template. In the past I had to rely on getTickCount() to find out how long it took a section of code to run.

<cfset start = GetTickCount()>
<cfloop from="1" to="100" index="i"><cfoutput>#i#</cfoutput></cfloop>
<cfset end = GetTickCount()>
<cfoutput>Loop took #end-start# ms</cfoutput>

But recently I've been using a new tag called CFTIMER. Simply wrap a section of your code with CFTIMER and, voilà, you instantly know how long it took to run that section.

<CFTIMER label="Long Loop">
<cfloop from="1" to="1000" index="i"><cfoutput>#i#</cfoutput></cfloop>

CFTIMER lets you put the information inline (as seen in the example above) in an HTML comment, in the debugging info, or even in a nice outline as seen in the example below.

<CFTIMER label="Long Loop" type="outline">
<cfloop from="1" to="100" index="i"><cfoutput>#i#</cfoutput></cfloop>

Using "outline" can become very useful when you have several nested sections you want to test.

CFTRACE and CFTIMER introduce new powerful debugging capabilities. These tags offer significant advantages over the previous methods and make it both easier and faster to debug code.

More Stories By Shlomy Gantz

Shlomy Gantz is the founder and president of BlueBrick, Inc., a technology management consulting firm based in New York. He has over a decade of application development experience, an extensive background in interaction design and project management, and has been building web-based solutions since 1996. Prior to founding BlueBrick, Shlomy was a senior consultant for Computer Horizons, leading large-scale projects for the airline industry. Prior to that he was co-founder and vice president of technology for CoreActive ACG., a New York–based consulting group and a premier Allaire partner.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.

@ThingsExpo Stories
In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Carl J. Levine, Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1, will objectively discuss how DNS is used to solve Digital Transformation challenges in large SaaS applications, CDNs, AdTech platforms, and other demanding use cases. Carl J. Levine is the Senior Technical Evangelist for NS1. A veteran of the Internet Infrastructure space, he has over a decade of experience with startups, networking protocols and Internet infrastructure, combined with the unique ability to it...
"There's plenty of bandwidth out there but it's never in the right place. So what Cedexis does is uses data to work out the best pathways to get data from the origin to the person who wants to get it," explained Simon Jones, Evangelist and Head of Marketing at Cedexis, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"Cloud Academy is an enterprise training platform for the cloud, specifically public clouds. We offer guided learning experiences on AWS, Azure, Google Cloud and all the surrounding methodologies and technologies that you need to know and your teams need to know in order to leverage the full benefits of the cloud," explained Alex Brower, VP of Marketing at Cloud Academy, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clar...
Large industrial manufacturing organizations are adopting the agile principles of cloud software companies. The industrial manufacturing development process has not scaled over time. Now that design CAD teams are geographically distributed, centralizing their work is key. With large multi-gigabyte projects, outdated tools have stifled industrial team agility, time-to-market milestones, and impacted P&L stakeholders.
Gemini is Yahoo’s native and search advertising platform. To ensure the quality of a complex distributed system that spans multiple products and components and across various desktop websites and mobile app and web experiences – both Yahoo owned and operated and third-party syndication (supply), with complex interaction with more than a billion users and numerous advertisers globally (demand) – it becomes imperative to automate a set of end-to-end tests 24x7 to detect bugs and regression. In th...
"Akvelon is a software development company and we also provide consultancy services to folks who are looking to scale or accelerate their engineering roadmaps," explained Jeremiah Mothersell, Marketing Manager at Akvelon, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
"MobiDev is a software development company and we do complex, custom software development for everybody from entrepreneurs to large enterprises," explained Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5–7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buye...
"IBM is really all in on blockchain. We take a look at sort of the history of blockchain ledger technologies. It started out with bitcoin, Ethereum, and IBM evaluated these particular blockchain technologies and found they were anonymous and permissionless and that many companies were looking for permissioned blockchain," stated René Bostic, Technical VP of the IBM Cloud Unit in North America, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Conventi...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Telecom Reseller has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5-7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York, NY. Telecom Reseller reports on Unified Communications, UCaaS, BPaaS for enterprise and SMBs. They report extensively on both customer premises based solutions such as IP-PBX as well as cloud based and hosted platforms.
"Space Monkey by Vivent Smart Home is a product that is a distributed cloud-based edge storage network. Vivent Smart Home, our parent company, is a smart home provider that places a lot of hard drives across homes in North America," explained JT Olds, Director of Engineering, and Brandon Crowfeather, Product Manager, at Vivint Smart Home, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Coca-Cola’s Google powered digital signage system lays the groundwork for a more valuable connection between Coke and its customers. Digital signs pair software with high-resolution displays so that a message can be changed instantly based on what the operator wants to communicate or sell. In their Day 3 Keynote at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Chambers, Global Group Director, Digital Innovation, Coca-Cola, and Vidya Nagarajan, a Senior Product Manager at Google, discussed how from store operations and ...
It is of utmost importance for the future success of WebRTC to ensure that interoperability is operational between web browsers and any WebRTC-compliant client. To be guaranteed as operational and effective, interoperability must be tested extensively by establishing WebRTC data and media connections between different web browsers running on different devices and operating systems. In his session at WebRTC Summit at @ThingsExpo, Dr. Alex Gouaillard, CEO and Founder of CoSMo Software, presented ...
WebRTC is great technology to build your own communication tools. It will be even more exciting experience it with advanced devices, such as a 360 Camera, 360 microphone, and a depth sensor camera. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Masashi Ganeko, a manager at INFOCOM Corporation, introduced two experimental projects from his team and what they learned from them. "Shotoku Tamago" uses the robot audition software HARK to track speakers in 360 video of a remote party. "Virtual Teleport" uses a multip...
A strange thing is happening along the way to the Internet of Things, namely far too many devices to work with and manage. It has become clear that we'll need much higher efficiency user experiences that can allow us to more easily and scalably work with the thousands of devices that will soon be in each of our lives. Enter the conversational interface revolution, combining bots we can literally talk with, gesture to, and even direct with our thoughts, with embedded artificial intelligence, whic...
SYS-CON Events announced today that Evatronix will exhibit at SYS-CON's 21st International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. Evatronix SA offers comprehensive solutions in the design and implementation of electronic systems, in CAD / CAM deployment, and also is a designer and manufacturer of advanced 3D scanners for professional applications.
Leading companies, from the Global Fortune 500 to the smallest companies, are adopting hybrid cloud as the path to business advantage. Hybrid cloud depends on cloud services and on-premises infrastructure working in unison. Successful implementations require new levels of data mobility, enabled by an automated and seamless flow across on-premises and cloud resources. In his general session at 21st Cloud Expo, Greg Tevis, an IBM Storage Software Technical Strategist and Customer Solution Architec...
To get the most out of their data, successful companies are not focusing on queries and data lakes, they are actively integrating analytics into their operations with a data-first application development approach. Real-time adjustments to improve revenues, reduce costs, or mitigate risk rely on applications that minimize latency on a variety of data sources. In his session at @BigDataExpo, Jack Norris, Senior Vice President, Data and Applications at MapR Technologies, reviewed best practices to ...
An increasing number of companies are creating products that combine data with analytical capabilities. Running interactive queries on Big Data requires complex architectures to store and query data effectively, typically involving data streams, an choosing efficient file format/database and multiple independent systems that are tied together through custom-engineered pipelines. In his session at @BigDataExpo at @ThingsExpo, Tomer Levi, a senior software engineer at Intel’s Advanced Analytics gr...
When talking IoT we often focus on the devices, the sensors, the hardware itself. The new smart appliances, the new smart or self-driving cars (which are amalgamations of many ‘things’). When we are looking at the world of IoT, we should take a step back, look at the big picture. What value are these devices providing? IoT is not about the devices, it’s about the data consumed and generated. The devices are tools, mechanisms, conduits. In his session at Internet of Things at Cloud Expo | DXWor...